Hot weather is here and sharing safety tips is always important!
You want to take your dog with you everywhere – it’s summer now! But it’s 90 degrees out and your best friend will melt in the car. So you stay home and hang out in the yard instead. If you’re still concerned and not sure how hot is too hot for your dog? Your dog doesn’t sweat as we do! Heat dissipates through their ears, panting, and their paws.
Read on for more hot weather safety tips for dogs.
What about heatstroke?
Here are the signs of overheating:
- Profuse and rapid panting
- Bright red tongue
- Thick drooling saliva
- Wide eyes with a glassy look
- Lack of coordination
- Vomiting/Diarrhea (this is the most common sign)
While you’re playing in the yard or watching your dogs chase each other, have water and ice cubes available at all times. You can use a thermos/insulated flask or ice chest for the water to keep it cool. If your dogs are like mine and don’t like to slow down and get big drinks, freeze chicken or beef broth as ice cubes!
Check the water in the doggie bowl frequently. It can feel like bathwater after even 15 minutes in direct sunlight.
15 more pet safety tips for hot weather
1. Dogs with medical conditions or predisposed to overheating: Please use caution if you live with dogs with conditions like heart disease when outside – you should talk to your vet about how much time out in the sun is OK and what respiratory distress looks like. Certain breeds are predisposed to overheating quickly. This includes any flat-faced breed like Pugs for example.
2. Dogs in cars. Never leave your dog in the car unattended. This isn’t up for discussion and if you need to take your dog to the vet and conduct telemedicine then great! No errands please when it’s hot out!
3. The pavement is hot! Park in a shady spot so at worst your dog is walking under a tree in a grassy area and their paw pads aren’t on the pavement indirect heat. Also, put your own hand down on the pavement and check it BEFORE your dog walks on any surface. You’ll be able to make a judgment immediately.
What about boots? There are many types of boots to choose from for your dog and all paws are not equal. It’s ideal to bring your dog over to our stores so we can measure their paws. You’ll need to measure the width of their paw while they are bearing weight. Try this:
- Place the paw on a piece of paper and press down on the top, mimicking how the paw spreads when the dog’s walking.
- Mark the left and the right side on the paper and measure the distance between the marks. Compare this to the boot sizes. The width of the paw should be smaller than the boot size. For example, if the foot width is 1 1/2 inches, order an XS at 1 3/4 inches.
Other brands that you might see are Ruffwear, Kurgo, Pawz, and RC Pets.
4. Heatstroke, go to the vet: Heat exhaustion typically occurs when a dog’s temperature falls between 103 and 106 degrees. A temperature above 106 places him at risk for heatstroke.
5. Pools are fantastic, but your dogs should be supervised: It’s fun to visit a friend’s pool but make sure your dog has a life jacket or float coat. Don’t assume your dog knows how to swim. Some breeds are not natural swimmers and may need extra help!
6. Summer check-up (watch the video!): Nose to tail exams are important any time of year but it’s good to get a baseline before summer comes around. It’s a good chance to talk to your vet about anything you’ve noticed that’s out of the ordinary. And perhaps your dog has allergies that are seasonal and could benefit from medication – this is a great opportunity to bring up some things you’ve seen pop up.
7. Seniors pets: They can easily overheat. Unfortunately, their bodies don’t work as efficiently as they used to so keep senior dogs inside or monitor the time they are outdoors. A little vitamin D is ok but they shouldn’t be left outdoors for long periods of time. Watch for signs of heavy panting.
8. Ticks and flea season is still here: Summer is when we need to worry about fleas and ticks. There have been cases of ticks in our area so please check to see what oral medication is available from your vet!
9. Power outages: Don’t rely on a fan! In case your city experiences hot weather power outages during hot months, you want to be aware of what devices are keeping your pet’s cool. Don’t forget about that fish tank.
10. Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets: Cats may fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
11. Don’t shave your dog! The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.
12. BBQ time, hot dogs shouldn’t be given to your ‘hot dogs’ this summer! Always stay away from any products that may cause GI upset.
13. Cooling mats: It’s nice to have something that your dog can hang out on in the yard that automatically helps cool them off. (No sprinklers!)
14. Elevated outdoor dog beds: Elevated beds, also called cots, allow for airflow and some even provide extra shade for dogs. A shady spot out of the sun can save a dog from heatstroke. Other outdoor beds provide simple comfort and can be laid directly on the ground under a tree or on a deck.
15. Pests: Be careful of the toxic chemicals used to eliminate pests this summer. Traps and poison can make your dog and cats very ill so make sure these are fenced off.
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